Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Aged) | Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

133 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Aged)Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Aged)

Brewed by:
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
New York, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.40%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
Enhanced with Brettanomyces

Added by Billolick on 03-18-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 133 | Ratings: 176
Photo of mcallister
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serious gusher upon opening. Lost at least half the bottle. An average looking porter showing yeasty sidiment at the bottom of the glass and an overly carbonated mocha head that leaves much lacing in its path.

Dark bread notes with sour funky tones, hints of smoke and meat, raspberry puree, brett, and some woodsy notes and hints of white chocolate.

Very very carbonated. This beer needs much time in the bottle to settle down. However it does drink quite nicely. Funky berry notes, with some infection, smokey malts, chocolate, bark, earth, wood, hints of vanilla, and some other dark fruits. The carbonation just really hurts this beer. Will definitely re-review this when I open my other bottle in a couple of years.

Batch 2 by the way. Should probably try my batch 1 soon I suppose.

 790 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At a recently tasting, all four variants of this beer were tasted side by side. I was personally surprised at the consistency of the results.

Beer is brown to black with a brown head that falls away and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. This beer exploded with pent up carbonation, shooting out of the neck of the bottle. Our lack of preparedness was punished with the loss of more than half of the bottle to the counter top and the floor. Probably the most ridiculously over carbonated beer I have ever seen.

Beer has a woody / sweet aroma to the whole thing.

This beer had the longest lasting head of the bunch (shocking) and had a slight sour flavor to it with some woody roasty late flavor. Medium body and good drinkability. Pretty good.

 751 characters

Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

So, I didn't think I'd get a bottle of this and surprise - i got a bottle via trade VFerg. Sufficiently warned that this was a gusher I chilled it quite cold, set up 2 very large glasses and proceeded to pop the cap. A loud pop, a large whisp of smoke a delay and then all hell broke loose. this thing erupted and thankfully I was prepared. I lost a touch of the brew to the sink and counter but managed to get the rest in my glasses. So, beer safely in glass, it's on to the review:

A - almost all foam which slowly gave way to a cloudy brown beer with a sticky brown head.

S - porter meets red wine, rough houses in a barrel and comes back with some brett inspired bruises.

t - wow, this is nice. robust porter notes balanced with and towards a red wine note with a hint of oak and funky brett in the background.

M - bit of a fall here as even with the beer subsiding, this is too over carbonated. smooth, light bodied but tingly distracting for almost the entire rest of the bottle.

d - I'm left thinking of what this could be. It drank decent enough but the over carbonation definitely pulls the score way down IMO.

I applaud the brewers for whatever inspired them to take this leap with this style of beer. unfortunately this beer is hindered by the overcarbonation. I would come back and try this for version 3 but I can't recommend version 2 as I think it will only get more carbonated going forward.

 1,413 characters

Photo of kasper
3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle acquired direct from the brewery in early April. (I've also got some for trade.)

DO BE CAREFUL opening this one. Reports are true... CL has built a mini celebration geyser into each bottle. I opened mine over a large bowl and had two pint glasses ready. Therefore I only lost a few drops.

A: Pours a dark opaque brown with a huge frothy and foamy tan colored head that hangs around a couple of minutes before settling.

S: Oh my god, does this beer have one hell of a nose. Strong smell of merlot, sour cherries, dark fruits and what not. Not really picking up much of the smokiness, but there is some subtle oak. You have to smell this brew, seriously. The nose is almost worth it if even if you're not a porter guy.

T: This thing tastes just like the nose, strong taste of sour cherries with lingering dry wine, oaky finish. Very unique. Never tasted anything like this. I cannot easily describe it.

M: Really bubbly from carbonation -- like setlzer. I'd say its medium body at best. Bubbles flood the mouth, tingling on the tonque even after you swallow. Loads of carbonation here.

D: You know, I'm really not a porter guy at all and this beer definitely doesn't stand as an exception to my liking. But as someone who can appreciate the craft, I have to say this is one of the most unique beers I've ever tasted.

I plan to age one of these and see how it tastes in about six months.

 1,401 characters

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mikesgroove for hookin a brotha up with one of these.

Batch 2

Pours...out of the bottle at 100 mph in my sink. Many of these bottles are BIGTIME GUSHERS. I was lucky enough to be warned by many good BAs so it didn't cover my living room floor. So after half the bottle was lost in my sink, it pours a dark nearly impenetrable black with ruby hues and a large tan head that retains well and leaves good lacing.

Nose is interesting to say the least. The wine barrel is very present, but it smells as though there may be some tartness to the base beer as well. There is minimal smoke in the nose. some dark malt.

Hmmm. Taste is quite interesting here. The wine is defenitely present. Taste starts off with mellow oaky flavors. slight vanilla mixed in with the roasted malt. The wine flavor then begins to grab ahold of you. Throughout the middle wine is a dominant flavor in the taste. There is a solid tartness in the middle, but I do not think this is solely from the barrels. A tiny bit of chocolate here. Smoke peaks its head out just before the finish but is not as dominant as I would like. The finish is quite dry and vinous with some smoke trying to hang on but getting trumped by dry tartness. Aftertaste has some smoke and a bit of chocolate, and of course, wine.

The mouthfeel is actually only slightly overcarbonated. Viscosity is about where it should be, a little bit too dry for the style though, IMO.

Drinkability is pretty good, but the vinousness makes this one a slower sipper. Don't know what the abv is, but im guessing it is decently well hidden. i would guess it is in the 7-8% neighborhood.

Overall, this is a very interesting beer. I think the barrels play a role that is just a bit too prominent here, as the vinousness and tartness combine to be a very dominant flavor. The smoke is sort of in the background, would really like a bit more smokiness in this one, a bit more smoked porter and a bit less wine barrel. Although, certainly an interesting beer, and a great educator for those who want to learn to recognize what wine barrel aging does to a beer, and be able to pick it out when it is more sublte (like it should be, haha) Certainly an interesting brew, and a good one. Just a reminder I have a batch 2 bottle here and THEY GUSH ALOT! So open it over the sink.

 2,311 characters

Photo of emmasdad
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark, ruddy brown color, with a moderately stable medium brown head. Big vinuous aromas here, tart and funky, with a bit of smoke. On the palate, this one was tart and bretty, with notes of red grapes, oak, pinot noir, roasted malt and smoke. Better than the bourbon, and one I'd like to try again sometime.

 320 characters

Photo of ATPete
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml hand capped batch 2

A gusher, but smart thinking prevented too much loss. This one pours a solid black color with very little light penetration and a large brown head. Roasty nose with overtones of gymsock and a cheesy funk, not necessarily a bad thing. Most of this beers vinous, wine characteristics have fallen secondary to its massive smokey, burnt and roasty dark malt underbelly. Medium bodied and easy enough to drink. Im not really regretting holding on to this one for so long just kind of wish i would have cracked it 6 months earlier.

 552 characters

Photo of JDV
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by BlackForestCO. Thanks Jake!
Pours dark brownish with a medium tan head that it short lived. Smwll is roasty, sour and lightly funky. Taste is as advertised with a wine like flavor and sourness along with a roasty medium bodied beeriness to go along. Very well balanced and leaning slightly sour. Good stuff.

 324 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

All four variants of Smoke From The Oak served side by side at my tasting on May 29, 2010. Thanks to Pete, Chris, and Brad for supplying the bottles. Review is from notes.

To say this was a gusher is an understatement. The beer spewed forth in a rage all over my kitchen. Infected...ya, pretty much.

This beer is a dark brown color. It has an absolutely enormous head (gusher) that fades after about five minutes leaving very little lacing. Aromas are smoke, oak (go figure), and tannins. The flavor is pretty nice overall, infection or not. The beer is sour and tart, with a tannic presence. The feel is smooth with some noticeable heat in the finish. Overall, a pretty decent brew. Too bad most of the bottle ended up on the counter and floor.

 747 characters

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle, poured into a snifter; Batch #3

Pours a deep, dark chestnut brown with a creamy, khaki head that rose a good finger+ after the pour and settled to form a thin coating over the top of the beer.

Aroma is of chocolate, roasted malt, slight char, and vinous dark fruit. The wine elements overpower here a little more than I would like.

The wine overpowers a bit too much here too. The dark, roasty qualities of the porter do a decent job of keeping the body from being too tart and dry but just can't quite win the battle. Flavors of dark fruit, chocolate, roasted malt, and a touch of vanilla from the wood.

Lighter than expected body, with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Carbonation is turned up a bit much or this would be a real gem.

The abv is low and manageable, and the flavors aren't too overwhelming. Relatively easy to drink, and this coming from someone who is not a big wine fan.

 904 characters

Photo of baldycmu
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle a bottle from the brewery.

A-Aside fromt the fact that I too had some trouble once a popped the top, poured a fantastic dark brown with a hint of red. Nice tan head with great lace as I drank

S-Great notes of chocolate red wine, coffee, smoke, cherry (almost a tart smell)

T- Intially sip was a bit tart, but got less and less as it warmed. Could definitely taste the smoked porter in there and the wine barrel aging came through with all the a nice grape flavor.

M/D- All in all a smooth beer and a great beer to take your time with and enjoy.

 555 characters

Photo of CrellMoset
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle courtesy of dkachur - thanks! - at the C'ville Throwdown #3. Poured in to a tulip. Batch #3.

Appearance: What a head. This one pours a robust chocolatey black, opaque even to direct light save for around the edges where it's a dark wooden oak-hue. The really impressive part of this beer is the head though, which I knew would be impressive from the pop (it was a slight gusher) - a firm two-plus fingers of averagely-tanned head initially sat upon this body, and it never really fades beyond the thick, frothy, foamy head I'm currently looking at, surrounded by a firm, spongy mass collar and topped by tons of crisp, bold lacing.

Aroma: A robust and well-attenuated porter base beer evokes some of the best I've ever had - nice and dry, with tons of toastiness, faint bitter chocolate, espresso-roasted coffee, and a nice amount of bitter toasted astringency that melds well with the barrel notes.

Taste: Well that's an interesting balance. The way in which the astringent, sour, red wine notes - contributing plenty of tartness, and slight hints of grape skin and tannins - meld with the toastiness of the porter is pretty amazing. They compliment each other pretty well, in terms of the flavor profile - that is to say, the toastiness hits certain parts of the tongue, and the wine barrel contributions hit a completely separate set of sensory receptors on the tongue. Its almost like a dark sour at times - a toasty, dark and fruity sour. Impressive, though almost a little harsh at times, entirely due to the wine component, of course.

Mouthfeel: Very mild, soft, and nearly undercarbonated at points - the former is suitable given the base beer, but the latter almost feels natural given the strong wine contribution this one has.

Drinkability: Pretty odd, but also strangely natural, if that makes sense. As I said above, the wine contribution blends well in a sense of the "what you expect to be able to taste" sense of things, but otherwise, it's a little strange, at least in so far as the amount of wine here is a little too much for what the base beer can offer. At 6.4%, this one's pretty drinkable, but it is a little offputting in its intensity.

 2,185 characters

Photo of pmccallum86
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to the mothman for cracking this open.

Pours a deep dark color with a bubbly mocha color head that does not dissipate at all.

Lots of sour notes in the aroma, very nice. The smell is malty and smoky like many porters, very good.

Taste is funky and tart. The wine comes through here big time, very original. This beer is quite tasty, and quite unique.

Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, tart, and has a leather finish.

Drinkability is pretty damn good for such a unique and original beer. I am a fan.

 506 characters

Photo of scootny
4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I forgot. Even as a dedicated CL acolyte I forgot. The bottle did not gush hard but it continued for more that my first glass could hold... anyway once that was handled and the attending loss accepted I saw a huge majestic brown head and great retention and superb lacing. The beer itself is black-brown and opaque.

Smell is very different from any regular porter. Smokey dark malts and light cherries. Oaken woodiness and a strong red wine core. A touch of vanilla.

Taste is something for your fall/winter food table. A big red wine core is wrapped by layers of porter, light smoke, chocolate malts, oak, vanilla. Finish is tart and puckering with a mild oak tinged bitterness. Somewhat chewy texture is broken up by lively carbonation and a dry sherry like feeling. A sweet lingering toasted molasses breadiness as well.

Drinkability improves as you go down the glass. I found myself taking bigger and more frequent sips as I went.

This stuff begs for a hearty venison stew or other such fare. However I believe it might be versatile enough for hearty Italian, taking the place of a good red wine. My hat's off to the job here done Scott.

 1,146 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.07/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Ben for sharing this one, review from written notes.
Bottle stored in temperature-controlled, zero light conditions. Served in a goblet.

Lasting tan foam, creamy texture, dark coloration.

Woody aroma, some dark chocolate comes through from the base porter possibly. Wet barrel staves, bretty yeast lends some notes of wet hay and light horseblanket.

Vinous fruit, dry grape skin and plum, oaky and tannic in a big way. Medium level of tartness, dry finish with a creamy smooth feel. Carbonation is low to medium, body is fairly light and dry. Comes across like a well aged and blended Oud Bruin, nice fruitiness and wet barrel character with restrained touches of funkiness.

To the sounds of: Regulate ~ Warren G, from Ben's collection.

 751 characters

Photo of RedChrome
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thick ultra dark mahogany liquid that is impossible to see through. Massive three inch head proves the warning label about high carbonation is not just for show. Tan colored lace in big clumps.

A sour and tart aroma hits the nose first and brings to mind a cherry scent. The roasted malt smell is hidden behind the sour and gets downplayed a bit too much. There is also a faint hint of bubblegum sweetness mixed in.

Sour tinge to the sweet malt of the porter. The wine comes through with a very dark red wine presence leaning towards cherry. Very faint bit of vanilla and plum.

Extremely clingy on the tongue. Carbonation bursts all over the mouth and helps flavors develop.

A great brew. Would work well with beef medallions sauteed in a red wine. Definitely a nice beer to seek out if your a fan of sours. Another hit from a great brewer.

 845 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to whoever shared this at Al's of Hampden- poured chilled from the bottle into an ale glass and allowed to warm slowly.

A - A murky and hazed reddish brown color, the bottle immediatley foamed out of the bottle even though it was chilled.

S - The smell indicated the barrel that was used right off, sour, vinous aroma w/ out much roast or malt at all really

M - The feel is tart, tannic, semi-dry and lightly acidic w/ medium body

T -The taste is good with a malt quality that is completely overided by the red wine barrel used which can be good or bad depending on your perspective. The result taste less like a porter than it should to me, but it still has plenty of flavor so I err on the side of taste

D - The drinkability is very good for sour, wine barrel aged porter. I am glad there are brewers willing to put stuff like this out and I didn't like the first bottle I tried a couple years ago, but this one was very drinkable -a beer you have to try at least once

 982 characters

Photo of Gavage
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a very dark brown almost black color with a 2" head that lasts.

Smell: sweet malt, alcohol, and fruit sweetness are all easily detectable with some softer earthiness in the background.

Taste: big roasted malt tones and slightly smokey with some red grape sweetness. A hint of vanilla arrives late along with some soft earthy tones. Alcohol is warming.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp to start and smooth at the finish. Super long aftertaste as the flavors remain in the mouth for what seems like minutes. Medium-heavy in body.

Drinkability: one bomber bottle is enough for me, but this lasted for almost two hours as my after dinner beer. Wonderful flavors and grows more complex as it warmed. Seek this out.

 725 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the latest offering/creation from Scott V and the good Captain. They only made 40 cases, so this will not last long. Pours pretty much black, with lots of sticky lacing and sheeting left behind from the dark tan head. Nose here is the expected, light smoke and woody, earthiness from the wooden casks. Acrid smoke/wood on the palate, full flavor, complex brew. Bring on the BBQ ad hearty fare. Nice stuff, probably will improve and mellow a bit after residing in the bottle for a few months.

 499 characters

Photo of TheBlackMallard
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 2

Poured black with a small tan head into my giant snifter. Waited to make the pour right before it started to gush, I like to live on the edge(that does make me a badass, right?.)

Smell: Mostly of red wine and brett. Mmm, grapes and leather.

Taste: Whatever smoke was originally in this beer is gone. Tart Red Wine, Oak, and a little Brett, but not much. Full Bodied with a dry finish.

 397 characters

Photo of BeerShirts
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- black, no light going through this thing, a tan head that just wont go away, the bottle had head coming out of it tell we were below half way in the bottle.

S- This beer is baffling to me. It smells like a iambic. Very fruity sweet. I am guessing this is from the wine barrel.

T- Starts with the sweet iambic taste even just like the smell. It is a dry beer again traits from the wine barrel. then goes into a light roasted malt .

M- Bubbly like champagne and then a dry sense like wine

D- I just dont know what to think about this beer. everything about it makes no sense to me and yet I love it. Def worth getting your hands on if you can get to it.

 659 characters

Photo of illidurit
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy nickd717. Pours a dark ruby brown with a beige froth that has a little tinge of pink hue to it. Aroma is of berry pie, jammy red wine, milk chocolate, very woody. Flavor is acidic grapes and berries, again heavy on the oakiness with only a trace of smoked porter. Light moussey chocolate and a whisper of smoke underneath the wine. A little tannic/astringent, but good in an unexpected way.

 406 characters

Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks UDbeernut for sharing -- bit of a gusher, batch #2

The beer pours a a slightly hazy dark black/brown with a thin tan head that laces. The nose is wine barrel forward with a touch if funk and smoke...quite pungent. The taste is a strange mix of smoke and wine barrel with a lingering vinous dryness. It's medium bodied mouthfeel is smokey with a touch of sweetness upfront followed by a dominating wine barrel funk. Definitely unique tasting and has the great vinous feel that I was hoping for when I poured my glass. I'd recommend this beer to those who want a 1-2x try of a funky, tart, vinous porter, but not for an everyday drink.

 641 characters

Photo of AleWatcher
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Reviewed from notes.
shared by Oreo AND Drewba at a tasting.
served in a snifter.

Pours a hazy, murky, reddish/brown with a good toffee colored head.
The nose is strong oak with a grapeskin tannin quality. Solid smokey malt base hiding beneath the surface. The sip reveals a bit of tartness here -- me likey.
The sweetness up front-- toffee and caramel malt. The smoke comes next with an acrid dryness. Then come dark fruits like red grapes, blackberries, and tart black cherries.

The smoke runs through like the bass-line to the song Under Pressure-- it's just there man. You can't ignore it, but after a while, it blends so seamlessly into the tune, that you hardly notice it.

Nice feel-- highly carbonated, but not overly so.

This drinks insanely well. I like it.

 771 characters

Photo of HopHead84
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 3. I drank batch 2 last year but lost quite of a bit of it when I opened it in the middle of my living room (like a moron) and it gushed.

Poured into my Russian River tulip, the beer is very dark brown with deep ruby highlights when held to light. A gentle pour yields a fluffy two finger, light brown head. retention is good and there's some lacing on the glass.

The initial aroma I notice is the wine: Pinot Noir and Merlot. Beneath the grapes I find notes of chocolate, vanilla, and plum. At the heart of the it is the base beer, the smoked porter. It's covered by the wine and other rich aromas, but the smokiness is still present, if faint, as well as licorice and roasted malt. Overall, the beer has a subtle yet inviting aroma.

The flavor shows more of the base beer than the aroma did. Flavors of chocolate, grapes, plum, roasted malt, vanilla, and oak are present. There's a pleasant underlying smokiness to the beer that isn't overwhelming and works well with the wine notes. No hop character is noticeable. The beer has a nice low-medium level of sweetness. The flavor is slightly tart. The finish is fruity, lightly smoked, and here the alcohol is most noticeable in the form of a mild burn in the back of the throat.

Medium-full bodied with good carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.

 1,318 characters

Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Aged) from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
4.02 out of 5 based on 176 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.